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Linux is cool in this Penguin-powered ice cream maker

Feb 13, 20062 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* Linux makes your ice cream

At last week’s Demo conference, a showcase of all things edgy, techie and gadgetey, saw the debut of what I am willing to bet is the first Linux-powered automatic ice-cream making machine. The MooBella Ice Cream System is a vending-machine-sized device (kind of a cross between a fridge and a coke machine) that can almost instantly create a scoop of ice cream in a variety of flavors, with or without nuts, crushed cookies or candy.

The device, which runs a Linux operating system, offers customers a touch-screen interface for choosing from 12 different flavors, and five “mix-ins.” The ice cream is made fresh at the point of purchase, as the machine mixes and flash-freezes its ingredients, producing a scoop in 45 seconds.

MooBella uses mixing and freezing technology that’s sure to wow the top scientists at Baskin Robins or Dairy Queen; but its user interface, operating system and networking capabilities should impress any pro-open-source techie. A stripped down version of Linux controls all of the machine’s operations, from the ingredients processing to the customer interface. A mini open source database tracks sales and inventory, and freshness of the ingredients: cream, sugar, flavorings, nuts, M&Ms, etc. The machine uses satellite technology to communicate inventory and sales data to a centralized system, allowing delivery trucks to know when to refill ingredients.